- Black salt is manufactured from the salt mines surrounding the Himalayas
- Himalayan pink salt is also a type of rock salt
- Alaea salt is also known as Hawaiian red salt
When it comes to culinary practices, there are five types of distinct tastes we all experience-sweet, salty, bitter, pungent (sour), and umami. The salty taste definitely is the one that stands out strong out of these! Salt has the power to enhance or suppress various types of flavour you may perceive through food. Salting is also used as a method to preserve some food preparations. Undoubtedly, salt can make many dishes taste good instantaneously, but it comes with a usage precaution as the overuse of salt is one direct risk factor for developing high blood pressure.
On your trip to your supermarket, you may encounter various types of salt walking down the gourmet aisle. Let's see what all qualities these variants possess:
Different types of salt you must know
1. Table Salt
The most commonly used household salt is table salt. It is obtained from the seawater or salt lakes after solar evaporation. Table salt is highly refined to get rid of impurities and also contains anti-caking agents to make it free-flowing. The most common type of table salt is "iodised salt" wherein table salt is mixed with iodine in order to prevent iodine deficiency, globally because salt is an effective vehicle to distribute iodine to a large group of the population, simultaneously.
2. Kosher Salt
Koshering salt does not contain iodine but it may contain anti-caking additives. It is a kitchen staple in many of countries worldwide. It is flakier in texture and doesn't possess any metallic taste, unlike table salt. It has fairly large grain size and is best used for the process of koshering (removing blood from meat) or seasoning purposes.
3. Rock Salt
Rock salt or black salt is manufactured from the salt mines surrounding the Himalayas. It has been widely mentioned in Ayurvedic texts for its therapeutic properties. It has a slightly brownish pink to dark violet translucent hue and a strong smell due to its sulphur content. It contains laxative properties and can help to aid digestive health. It can also relieve from flatulence and bloating.
4. Himalayan Pink Salt
Himalayan pink salt is also a type of rock salt. It exhibits pinkish tint because of the presence of certain minerals in it. It is more or less similar to table salt in composition but lacks iodine. Its distinctive pink hue makes it a favourite amongst bakers and culinary practitioners. Pink salt is also often used to make "salt lamps" as a piece of decoration. It does contain certain minerals but only in trace amounts. Although it is touted as the healthiest salt around, there are no scientific pieces of evidence to support this claim.
5. Alaea Salt
Alaea salt is also known as Hawaiian red salt. It is a type of sea salt mixed with an iron oxide rich volcanic clay known as alaea. It was traditionally used by Hawaiians to cleanse and purify homes and temples. The true Hawaiian red salt can be quite expensive and difficult to find and is believed to contain at least 80 trace minerals including iron oxide.
So, which salt is the best?
Essentially all types of salt possess some health benefits and can be used interchangeably in your cooking methods. Iodised salt scores slightly higher because of its protective action on the thyroid gland. But, it is also very important to limit the amount of salt you consume in order to maintain blood pressure and heart health. It is recommended to intake 1 teaspoon (2300 mg sodium) per day by a normal person and those with high blood pressure should keep the amount to 3/4 teaspoon (1500 mg sodium).
(Nmami Agarwal is nutritionist at Nmami Life)
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